Monday, July 27, 2015

Why My Mom Sent Me To The Vet In Yerington

Why My Mom Sent Me To The Vet In Yerington

It was the best of times; it was the worst of times, 1956 and 1957 were not my best childhood years. In 1956, at age 8, I came down with rheumatic fever and was on total bed rest for a whole year.  When I returned to school the next year, I was required to lay down in the nurse’s office at all recesses for the first six months of the fourth grade. I could see all the children playing on the playground and longed to join them.  When I was finally released to go to recesses, I went absolutely crazy.  I  rejoiced on every piece of playground equipment, until one faithful day when the EVENT happened.  I had waited in line impatiently to have my turn on the slide.  When I reached the top, I determined that I was not going to go down the same old boring way.  No, I was going to hang both my legs over the sides of the slide.  That was fun and different and I was well pleased, until about halfway down one my chubby little legs hit a big round bolt.  It snagged my leg and ripped a ten inch gash in my calf.  When I reached the bottom, I looked down and saw this open wound did not have too much blood but lots of tissue and fat bulging out of it.  I wanted to cry, but I didn’t want the kids to call me baby, so instead I hobbled off the the nurse’s office just as the bell was ringing.

When I arrived at the nurse’s office, before I could even say a thing, the nurse snapped at me, “Why aren’t you in class?”  I couldn’t say anything, so I just pointed to my leg.  “Oh, my God, how did you do that?”  After hearing my explanation and examining my leg, she called my mother to come pick me up.  

My mother immediately came and got me and drove me straight to the hospital where she worked (not my favorite place after a year of illness).  She took me straight to the operating room and set me on the surgery table.  She then left for a season, and when she returned she was wearing a surgical apron and gloves and was accompanied by two other nurses. At this point, she announced to me that there were no doctors available right then, as they were both out of town, so she was going to sew me up.  Total fear seized me.  It was not fear of her sewing me up, as she was a surgical nurse, but the very thought of needles was the most frightening thing in the world.  I had prefered she throw me in a pit of rattlesnakes as to approach me with the dreaded NEEDLE.

To make things worse, she informed me that she was afraid to give me anything for pain, because I had been ill and she was not sure how I might react to it.  Thus the reason for the two nurses--to hold me down.  This was a very, very bad day.  Fourteen stitches latter, I was wore out with pain and frustration, and exhausted from fighting the nurses. I was so angry with my mother, the nurses, and that stupid slide.  My mother gave me a pair of crutches and then announced, she would drive me back to school.  Did I mention that this was a very, very bad day?  “What!  What!  Did I hear her right?”  This was more than I could bear.  I threw a hissy fit.  She finally,relented and agreed to have me lay down in the nurse’s lounge until she got off work.

And so the saga continues…….

I do not know how long I had the stitches in my leg.  To me it seemed like a lifetime.  But the fateful day arrived to have them removed.  Problem was that the doctors were once again out of town and unavailable, but worse so was my mother.  She was at a hospital association convention.  So she calls me and announces, “Chere, it is time to have your stitches removed.  I have made arrangements with Dr.------ (I can’t remember his name) at the veterinary hospital on Main Street.  He will be expecting you tomorrow after school.  So go right there and don’t lollygaggle.”  I tried to protest but to no avail.

The next day, I dreaded the vet visit all day.  And I talked to myself a lot, “Who ever heard of sending a person to a vet?  Does she think I’m a dog?  Does he even know who to treat humans?  I’ll probably leave with fleas!”  I was so ashamed, I did not want my classmates to know where I was going.  In rebellion, I did lollygaggle.  I was hoping he’d be closed when I got there. No such luck.  He was eagerly awaiting me.  He was pleasant enough, but the whole time had a little smirk on face, like he was quite amused at this event.  He sat me on one of the examining tables. He gloved up and pulled out a pair of scissors and a pair of tweezers.  Rythmatical he pull the stitch up, snippid the stitch, and pulled it out.  “How many stitches do you have?” he inquired.  “Fourteen, four inside and ten outside.” I answered.  “The four inside will dissolve on their own,” he informed me.  “Help me count.  We’ll take out the ten outside ones.”  The tug of each stitch coming out didn’t seem so bad.  I think he had me count to distract me a little.  I rather like this vet.  But I still wasn’t going to let my siblings or classmates know I was treated by the vet.  Not until today, that is.

Monday, July 6, 2015

The Cracker Lady’s House Roots

The Cracker Lady’s House Roots

The question was asked recently by a Facebook friend, “ What is this cracker lady house stuff all about? I have no idea what the cracker lady house is.”  Well, the origin of the Cracker Lady goes clear back to 1977 and I was in my last year of Bible College in Tennessee.  Most of the time that I lived in Cleveland, Tennessee, I attended a very large white church.  But in my last year of college, I felt the Lord’s leading to go minister in the black church across town. Don’t ask me why He would wanted this country white girl in a black church, I do not know. He had given me a heart for the black people when I first came to Him.  And I had made a promise to him then, “Lord, I will go where you want me to go and I will do what you want me to do.”  and I meant it from the bottom of my heart.  I was a ministry student, but in such a large congregation, I didn’t have much opportunity to operate in my calling, so the Lord did not get much argument from me.

Shannon & me at Bible College 1976
(we both needed a haircut)

So off I went to the black church.  Shannon, my daughter, and I were the only white people in the church at the time.  I taught Sunday School to teens and conducted a Vacation Bible school.  I learned a lot and enjoyed the black gospel worship.

Shannon (first row, first on left) with a VBS class 1977

In preparation for ministering to Southern blacks, this lily white ignorant Western girl read everything she could on Black history and culture, hoping I could glean enough insight to be a blessing.

Shannon, who was eight at the time and a very good reader, came to me one day and said, “Mom, I’m worried.”  Concerned I asked, “What about, Shannon?”  “Well,” she replied, First you read Black Child Care and then you read Black Like Me.  I am worried you are going to turn yourself black and me too.”  I slowly said, “Well, Shannon, if I was black, wouldn’t you want to be black too?”  She pondered for a moment and then replied, “Yes, I guess so.”  With that I assured her we were both going to remain white because that is how God made us, but that we should try to understand as best a possible what other races and cultures were like.

As I had to work after school and needed child care, I had made a deal with another ministry student to live with us in exchange for a 25 volume set of commentaries and child care for three months rent.  She was a black girl from Florida and had a brilliant boyfriend from Gayana. Shannon and I lived in a married student housing apartment with two bedrooms so this arrangement worked well for all of us.

So with this back drop, 1977 was also the release of the TV serial, Roots.  Many friends and students did not have a television and since my house has always been an open house many people crowded into my living room every night to watch this acclaimed show for the week of it’s airing.

Everything went along just fine until the third or fourth night (I can’t recall).  This night there were black students from the Bahamas as well as my roommate and and her boyfriend viewing the show with me and Shannon.  This was the episode that the slave got his foot cut off for running away.

We were intensely into the show when off to the side I could hear my roommates breathing become rapid and labored (she was a asthmatic).  At the point in the movie when the ax was coming down, she jumped to her feet in the middle of my living room, arms flying wildly in the air and yelled out, “I’m beginning to hate these Cracker’s more and more everyday!!”

Everyone was shocked into silence as their eyes turned towards me, the  only Cracker in the room.  All I could say was, “I’m not feeling very good about them either right now.”  Suddenly we all erupted into roaring laughter.  This was not the only time I have been called a Cracker in my life, but it is by far the most memorable.

After my daughter developed her brain tumor two years latter, I gave up my pastorate and was not able to do much ministry, except for those that the Lord brought to me at my house or work.  From my house I have counseled, taught Bible study and prayed for those in need.  In the inter- cities of Seaside, Oakland and Richmond the Lord has brought many people to the my home - “Cracker Lady’s House”

Cracker Lady’s Houses in Seaside and Richmond, CA

My Cracker Lady’s House blog was originally to recount some of the extraordinary events during my 30 years of ministry from my house in these inter cities.  Now, however, I use it as a personal blog to write about whatever fits my fancy. Lately, it has been quite autobiographical, but you never know when the winds may change and my writing may take on a different direction.


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